No More

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
Over the time of my marriage, I have become quite the expert of explaining a black eye, busted lip or a broken bone or two. Friends and family know the real story, but I continue to lie and blame it on my clumsiness. Even the officers that come when the neighbors call give me that look. I put on my fake smile and tell them everything is fine.
In the beginning, he was the perfect gentleman. I believed he was straight out of a fairy tale and I had found my prince charming. I was the happiest woman alive. In the company of family, friends, and co-workers we pledged our vows.
Shortly after the honeymoon though, he persuaded me to quit working, so we could work on starting our family. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I took it as his way of just wanting to spoil me, and the idea of not working and being a stay at home mom appealed to me.
Several months had passed and I did not become pregnant. With each passing month he would become more irate. He blamed me. Either I was not fertile enough or I was secretly still taking my birth control. One night as I was telling him how crazy he sounded, he lost it, and I got my first black eye. I was shocked at first, I stood there covering my eye and staring at him with the other. The look I saw in his eyes terrified me, I couldn’t bring myself to cry. He turned his back on me and went to the bedroom slamming the door behind him.
I made myself a doctor’s appointment, I wanted to make sure there was not a medical reason I was not getting pregnant. We no longer made love, the sex became rough and more forceful. When I complained or cried it got worse.
I know you are asking yourself why I stayed. I loved him, I was afraid of him, it would get better when I got pregnant, he was stressed, I made myself believe every excuse. He would always say he was sorry after. The only way that I could rationalize this was, at least he could apologize.
As time passed, friends and family started noticing my bruising and started asking questions. A time or two they asked in front of him. He led me to believe that they were trying to come between us and I was to keep my distance from them. And I did.
On one afternoon, I stood at the stove preparing supper. I love rice, but he did not care for it, but would eat it on occasion. I had a hankering for chicken and rice. When he came into the kitchen and discovered what was for supper, the chicken and rice was thrown across the kitchen. I cowered to the floor using my hands to cover my head and face. I heard him yelling that I knew he did not eat rice. I did not see him pick up the knife, that I cut the chicken with earlier. I felt a sharp sting on the top of my right hand, I knew it was blood that I felt running down my hand. I did not dare move or say anything when he screamed down at me, “now look at what you made me do! I heard him drop the knife down on the counter, walk out the kitchen, through the front door and slamming it shut.
One morning I found myself deathly sick. I could not stand the smell of any food. I did the best that I could to hide my symptoms from him. He was not the sympathetic kind anyway and if what I suspected was true, I had some serious thinking to do.
When I was able to get my stomach settled down enough, I went and bought a pregnancy test. I immediately went into the bathroom and took the test and waited. It was the longest wait of my life. When that plus sign clearly appeared, I covered my face and cried. So many thoughts flooded my head, I thought my head was going to explode. I splashed cold water on my face several times and that seemed to help. I reached for a towel and as I dried my face I stared into the mirror. With my bandaged cut hand, I traced the skin on my face and for the first time, I seen what I had become.
We finished supper that night with little talking. I did not volunteer any conversation and spoke only when I had to. I was standing at the sink and was washing an iron skillet. He came up behind me and reached his arms around my waist and yanked me against him, “come to bed! He said. I turned the skillet over, so I could wash the bottom, “Let me finish washing this skillet and I’ll be right there.” The next thing I remember he grabbed a hand full of my hair pulling my head back and his fist coming down on my face. “I said NOW!” he yelled. There was no thinking, no planning, I gripped the handle of the skillet and I swung with all my might. It sent him staggering into the kitchen table, but he did not go down. He came toward me again, and I swung the skillet again. This time he got it square in the face and he hit the floor.
By the time the police arrived, I was waiting for them on the porch nursing my blooding nose and he was unconscious in the kitchen floor. I recognized the officers as they walked towards me, and again they had that look on their face. Before they managed to say I word, I stood up squaring my shoulders and said, “I WANT TO PRESS CHARGES!” Both officers smiled.